“Ahhhhhhh, peace at last”. I sighed deeply, taking it all in. Sitting in my rocking chair, the wood floor of the porch gently creaked as I slowly swayed back and forth. I took one last look at the forest floor thirty-five feet below. I was hoping to see a black bear saunter into the clearing as he was heading out to scavenge for food. I could hear birds gently singing to their fledglings as they settled into their nest for the night, and the soothing sound of a cascading waterfall in the brook below our cabin. The air was cool and still. It wafted a gentle, refreshing aroma of evergreen trees. The sun had set behind the mountain toward the west, and the last lumen of light slowly faded away, as all the peaks disappeared. A hush fell over the forest. It was the sound of peace.
Moments of peace are rare in our high speed world of multitasking, hustle, and bustle. Today the pace is so fast we take drive-thru coffee breaks and jot off quick texts in lieu of having meaningful, deep conversations. Meals are eaten in the car while hurrying to someplace else. Sound bites of news cause our heads to throb, with continuous, heated discussions between rival opinions. Babies crying, siblings fighting and phones ringing are all vying for our attention. Peace seems far away and seldom attained.
True peace is not a place, however, peace is a person. In Isaiah 9:6-7a the Bible states: “For unto us a Child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father [of Eternity], Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and of peace there shall be no end.” Jesus is the Prince of Peace.
Often it seems impossible to find the quietness of peace where our soul is stilled by the presence of the Lord. Heaven abounds with peace, but for now, we live here on earth. Our world in which we live is not entirely surrendered to God’s dominion, authority or rule, consequently, His peace is not universally experienced. His peace can, however, be enjoyed by those who believe in the sacrifice and forgiveness of Jesus. As we choose to abide in His presence we can also abide in His peace. Those who abide in Him are the beneficiaries of His peace.
Jesus spoke a beautiful promise of peace to His disciples before He died on the cross. John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]”
Jesus was given all authority by God to rule over the kingdoms of this world and the world to come. Because we have come under the dominion, authority and rule of Jesus, His power supersedes that which is in this world. Therefore, we are able to find the peace of God amid the chaos, wherever we are and under any circumstances! Experiencing His peace is not dependent upon our circumstances. It is dependent upon our faith in Jesus and His dominion over our circumstances. Thirty-seven years ago I had an incredible encounter with the Prince of Peace I will never forget.
I almost died! I was laying down in the back of our station wagon wondering if we were going to make it in time. Twelve weeks pregnant with our third child, something was terribly wrong. Four days earlier the doctor told me I was “threatening to miscarry”. He had put me on bed rest. I had been resting for three days having minor symptoms but when I woke up on the fourth day I knew things had escalated. My mom called to check on me and quickly called her friend who had been a nurse, to discuss my symptoms. In just a couple of minutes she called me back with stern instructions, “Louise said you must not be alone, you could hemorrhage and you would not be able to get yourself to the hospital”! This was in 1978 before we had EMT’s and 911. We lived in a small town of about 3,000 population in Texas and were 30 minutes from the hospital in good traffic.
My husband Larry was getting ready for work when I shared with him what Louise had said. He immediately switched gears and called the office making arrangements to stay home with me that day. He took our 6 year old son to school and our 4 year old daughter to daycare and hurried back home. Symptoms increased during the day. By evening, I had a sense that something was about to happen and tried to prepare, as I could, to be ready. As Louise predicted, the hemorrhaging began and we were in a sprint to get to the hospital in time. It was the first week in December, people were busy Christmas shopping and the roads were full of cars.
After dropping off the kids with friends, Larry turned onto the highway toward the hospital. From the symptoms I was experiencing, I did not think we were going to get there in time. I could tell I was getting weaker. I had absolutely no control over the situation. Psalm 23 came to mind. It was the only scripture from the Bible I had memorized. I spoke it like a prayer and when I said Amen, the peace of God filled the back of the car where I was. I felt myself being cradled in someone’s arms like when I was a child on my daddy’s lap, but there was no one visible in the car. I heard no voice, but the overwhelming peace I felt, caused me to believe everything would be alright.
Larry, totally unaware of what was happening to me, hurried on to the hospital. When he pulled up to the emergency room door, I was unable to walk or stand on my own. I was put in a wheelchair and quickly rushed into the examination room. My blood pressure was 60/40. The doctor ordered an IV with an injection to stop the bleeding and a blood transfusion. The nurse asked me if I knew my blood type. “It’s O negative“, I told her. Panicked, the nurse cried out, “We don’t have O negative blood!” They quickly gave me a second IV with more medicine because they had to stop the bleeding immediately.
Even though the nurse panicked, the peace of God kept me calm, assuring me God was with me. I calmly spoke to her, “It’s going to be alright”, and it was! I did miscarry my baby that night and underwent surgery, but I lived. I was 28 years old. Although we lost our third child in that crisis, I have assurance I will see him in heaven one day. That comforts me when I remember that night. I was able to give him to Jesus to care for him while we were apart.
When I prayed the Word of God, the Prince of Peace filled the car with His presence. He comforted me amidst the chaos of a life-threatening situation. Praying that Psalm, I recited verse 4, “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me.” I felt the undeniable presence of the Lord which gave me both peace and comfort.
When we invoke the help of God into our circumstances, He comes with His power, His peace and His comfort. Whether I had lived or died, His peace surrounded me in my situation. I was assured of His love and His comfort through the course of the trauma.
The Prince of Peace comes and supersedes our chaos by overpowering it. He comes in the moment when our emotions are stilled as our thoughts turn to Him. His Peace can come instantly through an unspoken prayer or a simple sigh. God is not bound by time or space nor is He hampered by limitations. Neither are we dependent on a rocking chair on the porch of a cabin in the mountains to find peace. In the midst of chaos, the Prince of Peace can come as we look to Him. No matter what the circumstance is, when we place our eyes on Him, we can all say, “Ahhhhhhh, Peace at last”!